History of the Garage

Having a garage used to be a privilege reserved for the very wealthy but is now a common feature of many people’s daily lives. Today, many of them have been transformed into living spaces like game rooms and home offices, so they serve more purposes than merely housing vehicles. Having a garage is just as crucial for many homebuyers as having a kitchen. The French verb “Garer,” which means “to shelter,” is where the word “garage” originates.

Naturally, the initial vehicle storage facilities were outbuildings used to hold the tools for transportation as well as the horse and cart. The early vehicles were kept alongside the horse and cart by those who could afford them. Separate outbuildings, or what we now refer to as the contemporary garage, were built after it was realised that this caused the new car to smell like manure. Garages have changed over the past century from being an exterior requirement to being an essential component of our houses

Benefits of having a garage

Outside of your home, your car is usually the next biggest purchase. Having a garage gives us the ability to protect this investment. There are numerous benefits to having a home with a garage. From snow and sleet to UV rays and extreme heat, it can take its toll on your vehicle. By storing your car in a garage you are protecting it from these elements.

It may be that you live in a very busy area and would struggle to park on the street outside your home but having a garage gives you a dedicated space. You’ve also got the added security of not having to leave your car parked outside, reducing the risk of theft.

You can never have enough storage space either in your home so a garage offers more space to store out of season or bulkier items rather than cluttering up your home. 

Motoring Law Changes 2022

With the new year comes new motoring laws, seven to be exact. Here is a quick rundown of the new regulations.

All new cars manufactured in 2022 will be fitted with a speed limiter. The EU passed the decision, but the UK is expected to follow this new law.

The hierarchy of road users has been updated in the new version of the Highway Code. This means that those who do the most significant harm, I.e. lorry drivers, have the most responsibility on the road.

The new Highway Code also states that you should let pedestrians cross in front of you if you are stuck in traffic. This also applied to cyclists wishing to cross the road.

Previously, rules stated that you shouldn’t wave or use your horn to invite pedestrians to walk across a zebra crossing. Now, flashing your lights has been added to the list.

The full use of mobile phones whilst driving has been banned. This means no scrolling the playlists to get to your favourite song.

Manchester will join London in introducing a Clean Air Zone from 30th May 2022.

And finally, all new homes built in England in 2022 will have to have an electric car charging port installed.

Mercedes-Benz announce an all-electric lineup

Mercedes-Benz is the latest car company to announce that it plans for all its cars to be fully electric by 2030. 

In order to achieve this, Mercedes-Benz is investing over $48 million into research and development. 

They plan to have three new modular, scalable electric engines designed and introduced by 2025. These engines will support their medium and large cars, high-performance cars and light commercial vehicles.  From 2025 onwards, all new engine designs will be electric only, meaning all cars they manufacture will have an electric engine option.

Mercedes-Benz anticipates that electric vehicle sales will amount to 50% of their total sales by 2025

As part of this planned development, Mercedes-Benz has just acquired a UK based electric engine company called YASA.  YASA is known for its Axel Flux technology with will be integrated into its high-performance vehicles.

They hope that these engines will allow their new electric range to have a real-world range of more than 1000km between charges.

What You Need to Know About London Congestion Charges 2021

When first introduced in 2003, the London Congestion Charge was only £5 per day. In 2005 the charge increased to £8 and £10 in 2011. Now the charge has reached £15 for any driver travelling through London during 7am-10pm every day. Those who live in London or travel through on a regular basis, can get a discounted pass, but by simply owning certain types of vehicles, you can be exempt all together.

Any vehicle model that meets both Euro 6 emission standards, have an official CO2 g/km less than or equal to 75 and also have at least 20 miles of electric range qualify for the 100% Ultra Low Emission discount. This scheme enables most plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to be exempt from the Congestion Charge.

So, if you are looking to avoid London Congestion Charges, you would want to ensure you are driving a vehicle that qualifies as exempt from the charges or at least get a discounted pass for regular London visits.

Save Fuel, Save Money

Finding small ways to save money can make a big difference. Making a few small changes, to the way you drive, could help you save money on fuel.

Ten Fuel Saving Tips

1. The most obvious one but, limit your driving. If you can walk or ride a bike somewhere, do it.
2. Ensure you keep your petrol tank above one quarter full. Tanks are fuel injected, letting petrol run low puts added pressure on fuel pump.
3. Lighten the load. Weight is one of the biggest causes for kinetic energy loss, so the more things you have in your car, the harder it is on your fuel consumption.
4. It may be tough when you’re in a hurry, but drive slowly. The harder the engine works, the more fuel it burns. Fuel consumption is drastically increased above 60 mph.
5. Brake less. Accelerating and braking constantly uses more petrol than trying to drive at a constant speed.
6. Don’t tailgate. The closer you are driving to the vehicle in front means you will be braking and accelerating more frequently. You’re not going to be able to travel faster than the car in front, so keeping a good distance helps you maintain a more constant speed.
7. Try to predict traffic lights as these are a major culprit for quick start/stop driving and wasteful on fuel.
8. Avoid an idling engine. If the engine is idling for more than 10 seconds then just turn off, to save fuel.
9. Buying the narrowest tyres available for your car can help, as they affect the aerodynamic qualities and drag elements of your vehicle.
10. Planning journeys in the most efficient way will save fuel. If you have multiple errands, plan a route with the least amount of driving or if you keep getting caught in rush hour traffic, try leaving earlier or later.

Are Hybrids Worth It?

Even though hybrids debuted in the UK 20 years ago, they are still relatively uncommon. Many people wonder if the benefits out-weigh the costs. There have been several experiments and trials done in order to establish a accurate answer. However, a straight-forward verdict has still not been reached, but one thing is clear, it is definitely better for the environment. Seemingly, the cost/benefit is based on circumstances and the way in which the vehicle is used.

There have been tests and comparisons done with the Golf GTE and the Toyota Camry, as just two examples. The quick and easy answer is, if you live in the city and drive short-ish distances and mostly at lower speeds, hybrids will pay back the extra purchase costs in an estimated five to seven years, in some cases. This could take longer or shorter depending on how the vehicle is used. Fuel is not the only thing you will be saving on but also congestion charges, taxes, sometimes on insurance and additional future savings as governments crack down more on pollution.

So, in short, hybrids could definitely be beneficial for some people, but not all, at this point in time. However, the more ‘green conscious’ legislation becomes and with future hybrid improvements, one day most people will probably have a hybrid or fully electric car.

How does a no claims bonus work?

A no claims bonus (NCB) is a great way to save money on your car insurance quote.
The Association of British Insurers says that just one year’s worth of no claims could equate to 30% off your premium.

Earn four or five years of continuous no claims bonuses and your discount could be in the region of 60% – so you could be quoted 60% less than if you haven’t built up any no claims!

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